January 2023 Newsletter

Dear colleagues,

Happy New Year! I hope your holiday break was enjoyable and relaxing. We have some exciting articles in this month’s newsletter, beginning with our highlighted researcher, Dr. Hope Gerlach-Houck, assistant professor of speech, language and hearing sciences. Her research focuses on individuals that stutter and the lack of understanding they encounter daily.

Also featured in this month’s newsletter is information on the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, the Merze Tate Grant and Innovation Center as the monthly center highlight, our internal funding programs and all of the different events that are taking place.

I’d like to take a moment to mention the Bronco Innovators Challenge. Our goal is to support innovative ideas our undergraduate students bring forward. Students can take advantage of workshops and coaching sessions offered throughout the semester prior to the April 21 pitch competition. We would like to see every college represented in this challenge and hope you reach out to your students and encourage them to participate.


Remzi Seker, Ph.D.

Vice President for Research and Innovation

Meet our researchers

In my work, I seek to understand why people who stutter—including a community of nearly 80 million people globally—are vulnerable to disparities in quality of life and to ameliorate this inequity. A big issue is that stuttering and “what to do about it” are misunderstood. It would be much easier to stutter if others were understanding of it. My past research has demonstrated that social mistreatment is a strong contributor to reduced labor market and mental health outcomes in this community. In my current work, I aim to understand how discrimination affects people who stutter on both personal and structural levels.

My research is currently funded through three mechanisms: a Convergence Accelerator Grant through the National Science Foundation, a New Investigators Research Grant through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation and an Advancing Academic Research Careers Award through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. In my grant-funded projects, I am examining how real-time experiences with discrimination affect fluctuations in mood states in adults who stutter, as well as how artificial intelligence can be used to make voice-activated technology (e.g., Alexa, Siri) more accessible to people who stutter.

I believe that interdisciplinary collaboration is essential for research with real-world impact. I have collaborated with economists, psychologists, engineers, sociologists and stuttering community members to better understand how discrimination affects real-world experiences of people who stutter.

Upcoming Events

Ecrt pre-review period opens: Today, Tuesday, Jan. 24

Bronco Innovators Challenge kickoff: Friday, Jan. 27

Discovery Acceleration workshops: Mondays, Jan. 30, Feb. 20 and March 20

Department of Energy workshop: Friday, Feb. 17

WMed Lunch and Learn: Research and Grant Writing Series: Mondays, Feb. 20 and April 10

Spring Convocation: Friday, April 21

ORI research administration pre-award news

• The NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy goes into effect on Wednesday, Jan. 25. Learn what is expected of investigators and institutions under the 2003 NIH Data Sharing Policy and the 2023 NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy. For assistance with your data management, contact data librarian Daria Orlowska.

• Form Set H will replace Form Set G on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

• All NSF proposals will need to be submitted via research.gov effective Saturday, Jan. 28.

• National Science Foundation’s version 23-1 of their NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF23-1) will go into effect on Saturday, Jan. 28. Find more information

Fall ecrt confirmation period opens today

The fall Aug. 15 through Dec. 31 ecrt pre-review period opens today, Tuesday, Jan. 24. Refer to Grants and Contracts webpage for instructions. Before clicking the pre-review button, make sure all payroll, direct or cost share, for the project is reflected and accurate. If not, fill out a form to reach Grants and Contracts. Pre-review will need to be completed prior to the opening of confirmation on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

Bronco Innovators Challenge begins

Undergraduate students can now register for the Bronco Innovators Challenge. ORI is hosting a Friday, Jan. 27, kickoff providing students with an opportunity to learn about the challenge as well as pitch their ideas and find potential team members. Throughout the spring semester, we are offering informative workshops and mentoring opportunities that will help students develop and advance their innovative ideas. Final pitch presentations will be Friday, April 21. Please help us get the word out so we can make sure our students are aware and take advantage of this opportunity. Find more information

Coffee with Remzi

Sign up for an opportunity to meet with Dr. Seker in small group setting to ask questions, share thoughts on how we're doing and meet colleagues from around campus. We're hosting these conversations at Walwood Hall and hope you'll join us for coffee.

Department of Energy workshop offered

Lucy Deckard, Academic Research Funding Strategies, LLC, will facilitate a 2.5-hour virtual Department of Energy Workshop on Friday, Feb. 17 at noon. This workshop will incorporate hands-on exercises which includes a mock meeting with a program officer, searching for appropriate funding opportunities, identifying program officers to approach and is most beneficial for faculty who have a project in mind. Email Kay Mortellaro for the meeting link.

STEM Workforce Collaboratory offerings

The STEM Workforce Collaboratory (STEM-WC) will be offering equipment and externship funding opportunities for College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering and Applies Sciences faculty. Its overarching goal is to enhance the ways in which diverse members of southwest Michigan academic and industry communities can come together and help develop solutions to a pressing problem of the day: advancing and enhancing the pipeline of STEM workforce. The STEM-WC is funded by the U.S. Department of Education through the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). Details are available

FRACAA is open for proposals

Faculty Research and Creative Activities Award (FRACAA) supports faculty in significant research, rigorous scientific inquiry, original artistic activity and inventive technology. FRACAA is a competitive award that is made for up to $15,000 and requires submission of an external funding proposal within 18 months of the end of the project period. The competition is now open in InfoReady, found in the schedule portion of webpage. Proposals are due Friday, Feb. 10. For questions, contact Mark Hurwitz or Christine Stamper. Find more FRACAA information

Discovery Acceleration workshops offered during spring semester

Spring 2023 Discovery Acceleration Workshops will be held at noon in person with lunch provided. Email Kay Mortellaro to register for each workshop. Find more information

• Monday, Jan. 30, in Room 4560 of Sangren Hall Room, "Research Compliance," led by Julia Mays, associate director of research compliance.

• Monday, Feb. 20, in Room 2150 of Schneider Hall, "Export Control," led by Jim Center, export control officer.

• Monday March 20, in Room 132 of Floyd Hall, "Early Career Finding," led by Jamie Baker, research program officer.

Collaborating with WMed

To continue to foster collaboration in the area of research and proposal development, the Office of Research and Innovation and WMed’s Sponsored Programs Administration office will be working together this year. The hope is to foster more opportunities for researchers to develop interdisciplinary projects. This collaboration will include providing an open invitation to Western faculty, staff and students to participate in WMed's Lunch and Learn Series, which requires you to register by email.

Find the schedule for the WMed Lunch and Learn Series. To indicate interest and receive further information on collaborating with WMed, please fill out the Qualtrics survey.

2023-24 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Awards Catalog opens in February

There are over 800 awards in more than 135 countries for scholars to teach, conduct research or carry out professional projects. Awards range from four to 12 months with flex options also available. There is a Fulbright award for everyone!

Learn more about the Fulbright program or contact WMU Fulbright Scholar Liaison Dr. Michelle Metro-Roland.

Center and Institute Highlights: Merze Tate Grant and Innovation Center

The Merze Tate Grant and Innovation Center is committed to promoting research, innovation, and grant and contract acquisition in the College of Education and Human Development at Western in several ways:

• Proposing initiatives, developing policies and helping administer policies regarding the center’s mission.

• Providing recognition to those who excel in research, innovation, and grant and contract acquisition.

• Providing funds to facilitate research and grant writing.

• Facilitating connections with external partners.

• Developing and disseminating materials related to the college’s research, innovation, and grant and contract acquisition.

The center is both a physical space in Sangren Hall where externally funded project staff are housed and a college-wide effort to promote research and grant acquisition in the College of Education and Human Development. It is governed by an advisory committee with a representative from each of the college's departments and Office for Research and Innovation and directed by Dr. Jianping Shen, Gwen Frostic endowed chair in research and innovation.

Please visit the center's webpage for more information, including various programs that promote research and grant acquisition.

Share your experience and help University Libraries plan for the future

University Libraries serves the entire campus community and wants to learn about your experience. What do you need from your library? Complete a short survey to help inform the Libraries’ next strategic plan.

Spring Convocation scheduled 

Mark your calendars for the annual in-person Spring Convocation on Friday, April 21.  As the date draws near, we will be sending out more information along with the link for you to attend.

New resource from Evaluation Center available

EvaluATE, an NSF-funded project at the Evaluation Center, recently published a resource to help researchers and evaluators who use institutional data in their work. Check out the Guide to Requesting Data from Institutional Research Offices.

New publication announced

Laiyin Zhu and Steve M. Quiring, "Exposure to precipitation from tropical cyclones has increased over the continental United States from 1948 to 2019."


Keep us in the loop

ORI is very interested in hearing about the accomplishments of our faculty in the areas of research and creative activities. For example, we have a wall with copies of journal covers highlighting the work of our faculty, students and staff. If your work has been featured, please print a high-quality 8 ½ x 11-inch copy of the cover, sign it and send it to Remzi Seker or Kelli Bond for inclusion on the wall.  

In addition, we love to hear about awarded fellowships, notable awards outside of the University, honor society memberships and special activities that we can highlight. It's easy for us to know grants, but it's very important for us to highlight all of the achievements at WMU.